Published on Thursday, 13 December 2012 16:13
Band: Ashes You Leave
Album title: The Cure For Happiness
Release date: 29 November 2012
Label: Rock N Growl Records
01. Devil In Disguise
02. Only Ashes You Leave
03. For The Heart, Soul And Mind
04. The Ever-Changing
05. Meant To Stray
06. Summer’s End
07. Reality Sad
08. The Cure
09. ...For Happiness
Croatian Ashes You Leave are back with their sixth album and my expectations were quite high regarding this release as I enjoyed very much in their previous studio album Songs Of The Lost from 2009. On Songs Of The Lost they reached the right combination in their own sound for the first time in their history, album was atmospheric, fragile, melodic, still dark and heavy, there was some kind of right chemistry, so I hoped that they'll stick on this formula. Unfortunately the band had many problems with the line-up and they endured some changes since 2009. There is a new female singer and drummer, and I'm quite sorry that Tamara Mulaosmanović left the band, because I was more than satisfied with her vocal approach and keyboard playing. The Cure For Happiness is a different story and I must say that it's a step backward from Songs Of The Lost.
All in all The Cure For Hapiness is not that bad, but not from the aspect regarding that this is bands sixth album. If this would be their debut it will be somehow satisfying, as there is not a lot of originality, production is a big letdown, many demos have better one, performance is kind of good one, the songwriting is adequate. If the band didn't release an album such it was before mentioned Songs Of The Lost then I'll judge this one from another perspective. Violin played by Marta Batinić is sounding great, it gives kind of bond with early My Dying Bride who must be one bands biggest influences beside early Cathedral ("Ashes You Leave" is actually the song from Cathedrals 1993 album The Ethereal Mirror) and other doom and gothic mostly female fronted metal acts from 90's. The new vocalist Giada “Jada” Etro fits well into the whole picture, but there are too many moments when she losts the pace (for example in the chorus of "Devil In Disguise") . Her vocals can be sometimes very addictive, although nothing very special and she really can't be compared with their previous singer Tamara. Every other instrument is played well, yes, we have here a very talented band, just listen to magnificient guitars, especially occasional solos. Saša behind the drum kit is also one hell of the drummer and the keys played by guest Darko Terlević give the connection with gothic sounds. Another element that must be mentioned is the flute insertion, just listen how atmospheric everything becomes on "The Ever-Changing". In bands tendency to make their heaviest album ever they inserted more than usual dose of male growls and to tell the truth this is the point where the album losts its flow. Those growls work somehow silly and many times ruin the drive of the songs. For example in one of the best and longest songs up here "Summer’s End" where almost everything is on right place, the vibe, the catchiness, the right chemistry and emotion within pop elements becomes ruined by those uninspired growling vocals. I just wonder what they were thinking? Not to mention "Meant To Stray", how could you ruin something that has so many possibilities to be an outstanding doom metal track... and the list can go on and on with every single song. Just like I said before, the instrumental part is great, the typical doomy riffs in "Reality Sad" or dark "...For Happiness" work out impressive, also Giada shows her big potential, especially in the last one.
Unfortunatelly enough for Ashes You Leave this album gives a lot of contradictions and I believe that with just a bit of a different approach this could be an astonishing album. So, what we got is a good effort, but with too many glitches, the biggest one are vocals (male growls) and production which works somehow dry and shallow. I believe that the band wanted to make kind of rough and heavy record with this kind of production, but they lost the chemistry and depth that was reached on their previous studio album. I hope that it's not too late for them to learn the lesson as they are far from being the newcomers on the scene.
Review written by: T.V.